Tuesday, September 02, 2008

TV RECAP: "Prison Break" Season 3

"Prison Break" returned this season with the lofty claim that they'd recapture their former fans with a fresh and intriguing plot. While the ominously monikered Company is still after them, the relationships have been majorly altered.

For all you Michael-Sarah fans, fret not--they've finally reached the first step to their happily ever after. But, Sarah isn't the same old girl. She's definitely emotionally damaged from the extensive amounts of torture that Gretchen put her through. But at least they'll be using her as more of an asset this season, a viable source of information, instead of a perpetual damsel in distress. Sucre is now bffs with Bellick, since they broke out of a burning Sona, the Panamanian prison, together. Mahone, who was once teamed up with Michael, started off the episode working beside Whistler and ended back with Michael, toting a brand new incentive, since the Company supposedly murdered his wife and children. T-Bag is t'ed off enough to withhold Whistler's bird book, which has specifics on a building that will later be broken into, so he can get close enough to Michael to pay him back for abandoning him. Meanwhile, Whistler was offed and Gretchen has been kidnapped and tortured by the same eerily quiet Company assassin Wyatt (Cress Williams from "Grey's Anatomy" and "ER"). He's actually one of three newcomers on the show--the other two being Roland, the antsy Asian hacker (newcomer James Hiroyuki Liao), who sounds like an Italian Brooklynite, and a do-gooder (Michael Rapaport from "The War at Home") who is presently the last honest government agent in America.

The additions do create a better series. Wyatt's malevolence does appear to be an unstoppable force to be feared and the hacker brings some much needed humor to it. In one scene, he described the lack of activity on a modified cell phone that was supposed to be sucking info off of a nearby top secret chip by saying, "Last time I had this little action, I was dry humping my way through fifth grade." But as usual "Prison Break" continues to trip up when it comes to one aspect of its plot: overcomplication. While I appreciate them moving the story along a lot quicker than usual, it's actually just a trick of the eye. Yeah, they managed to kill a few people, bring you up to speed on everyone's whereabouts and prison status, get people arrested, get them freed, and execute more than one heist, but then they ended it with the promise of a prolonged job. While they started off the episode with the intentions of stealing one card with a crapload of secret info on it, they ended with the knowledge that they needed to actually steal 5 more, making us feel like we're the ones in prison.

Honestly...there are only two reasons I'm still watching: 1) For some unknown--and sure to be terrifying--reason, Michael is bleeding from the nose after dizzy spells, and 2) the preview for the next episode was unmistakably cut to appear like this team is something Danny Ocean--of the much beloved Ocean's Eleven--had pulled together. Are you trying to turn "Prison Break" into a heist series? Because if you are...I just might keep watching.

My Fantasy Scene for the Season: LJ and Sarah learn how to fight, and one of them has a battle to the death with Gretchen.

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